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Autistic traits of people who engage in pup play: Occurrence, characteristics, and neurodivergence.

Wignall, L., Moseley, R. and MacCormack, M., 2023. Autistic traits of people who engage in pup play: Occurrence, characteristics, and neurodivergence. Journal of Sex Research. (In Press)

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DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2023.2239225


Pup play is a kink activity and subculture that provides opportunities for social and sexual play and exploration. While growing scholarly attention has focused on the diverse dynamics of pup play cultures, and reasons for participation within them, no research has considered how pup play may be attractive for neurodivergent people. This study sample consists of 413 pup play practitioners from an international, internet survey to examine the occurrence of autistic traits among pup play practitioners and explore characteristics and social connections of people with autistic traits. Autistic traits were assessed using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient-Short Form (AQ-S), with 1 in 2 participants reporting a score that is indicative of an autism diagnosis, substantially higher than the prevalence of autism in the general population. Using linear and multinomial regression analyses, we find that people with high autistic traits prefer non-flexible roles in pup play, have lower identity resilience and more restricted sociosexuality. People with high autistic traits were also less likely to belong to pup play social communities or to closer-knit family/pack units despite wishing to and were also less likely to have a strong identification with pup play communities than people with low AQ-S scores. While these findings need to be treated as preliminary on the basis of methodological and and sample limitations, this research demonstrates the importance of considering intersections between autistic traits and sexual subcultures and provides evidence that sexuality research would be enhanced by a more inclusive approach to considering neurodivergence more broadly.

Item Type:Article
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:38800
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:20 Jul 2023 12:55
Last Modified:04 Aug 2023 13:27


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